Debswana and Huawei unveil 5G-oriented smart diamond mine project

Botswana's Debswana Diamond Company Limited and Huawei have jointly announced at MWC 2023 the world's first 5G-oriented smart diamond mine project.

The Huawei-enabled smart mine solution has been deployed at Debswana's Jwaneng open-pit diamond mine; the project started operation in December 2021. 

As Debswana’s Head of Information Management, Molemisi Nelson Sechaba, pointed out, Huawei's 4G eLTE private network solution provides stable connectivity for the Jwaneng mine, connecting more than 260 pieces of equipment, including drilling rigs, excavators, heavy trucks, and pickup trucks. This enables interconnection between the mine's production, safety, and security systems.

Before this solution was adopted, the previous solution had two limitations. First, it had limited coverage. Second, it used public wireless frequencies and had less robust anti-interference capabilities. As a result, the mine's different types of data could not be transferred stably in real time.

Sechaba said that it is important to deploy the eLTE solution to connect mining equipment in a more stable manner. There are two reasons for this. The first is efficiency. The ability to transfer data in real time makes equipment like mining vehicles more efficient, increasing yield and reducing long-term opex. Second, the solution helps improve safety. Real-time data collection, backhaul, and interaction make the system more sensitive and accurate, ensuring that it provides more reliable protection for staff and vehicles.

The Jwaneng mine is the world's first 5G-oriented smart diamond mine. This means the hardware equipment such as base stations used in the mine's digital transformation solution support network upgrades to 5G. 5G features such as high bandwidth and low latency can support the application of cutting-edge technologies like autonomous driving, enabling more intelligent digital transformation of the mining industry in the future.

Over the past five years, Huawei has provided services to mining enterprises in a number of countries in the region, including South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Ghana. Looking to the future, Huawei will work with more local partners to accelerate mining digital transformation and create more value in Africa.

Following on the success of the Jwaneng mine project in the Jwaneng, Debswana plans to also deploy the smart mining solution in its Orapa, Damtshaa, and Letlhakane mines in 2023.

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